With demand for rental properties increasing and inventory shortages being experienced, it can be quite a task for tenants to find the right property. It seems that in today’s rental market there just aren’t enough apartments and homes to go around.
However, there are ways in which you can increase your chances of finding their ideal rental property. Grant Rea, Certified Residential Rental Specialist at RE/MAX Living has some tips and tactics that you can use to snap up the right rental.
Keep it current
Firstly, there’s little point responding to online ads that have been viewed hundreds of times. The fact is that the ‘good value’ properties will get snatched up almost immediately. Don’t bother with listings appearing after page 10 or that are older than a week, especially if you are looking properties going for less than R10 000 per month.
With the large number of tenants waiting for property, asking an agent to add you to a list or take your number will not suffice. Rea advises tenants to rather get the email address of a reputable agent who is active in the area and email them with the intention of gaining some rapport. Don't be complacent and leave it to the last minute, it's harder to secure the right place than you think.
Rea says that it is crucial to respond to online ads efficiently:
Keep it brief and ask for an appointment to see the property as soon as possible.
Do not ask if the property is still available – this wastes time.
Outline who you are, noting number of occupants, whether you have pets and why you are moving.
State that you have a clear credit history, and have all the necessary documents and the deposit ready.
Leave the questions about what is included until you are face-to-face with the agent or landlord.
Shortlist as many potential places to view to improve your chances of securing one.
Be prepared to be asked for the contact details of your last two agents and/or landlords.
Having all the necessary documents in order will not only speed up the process, but also show the landlord that you are serious:
Get your own credit check done: bureaus such as TransUnion provide a free annual profile; a landlord / agent may also do their own check but at least you will know your credit history and score.
Get the application form before the viewing and complete it before you arrive.
Remember to take copies of your ID documents, proof of income or a letter from your employer or, if you are self-employed, bank statements for three to six months. Generally, applicants need to earn roughly three times the rental amount as a gross combined income.
A letter from your past landlord or rental agent is always helpful. Or have their details handy and be willing to state how long you’ve been renting there. If you’ve never rented or if you previously owned your property, try to get a good reference from a responsible authority figure.
If you have anything that negatively affects the application, be honest and state what you have done to improve the situation. Being honest shows integrity.
According to Rea there are a few other things that could help make a good impression and improve your chances, such as being on time for the appointment. He also notes that it is good for you to build a little rapport so that you are remembered. “Ask if you can apply immediately, produce the supporting documents in an envelope and ask if there is a formal application to follow. Also, offer to pay the lease fee or deposit on the spot provided that they can give you a receipt,” says Rea.
It is important for you not to give up. If you apply the above tips and keep at it you will eventually find your ideal rental property. Good luck!